By Fredrick Nadulli,
Football enthusiasts and all stakeholders in Kenya can now breathe easy. After months of bitter wrangling, mud-slinging and bare-knuckled wars for control of the beautiful game, action swings back to the pitch, away from the sidelines and boardrooms that also saw world governing body FIFA ignominiously forced to the role of big brother. Shenanigans have been busy at work, eating away at the country’s football fabric.
The administration of the sport is firmly back under the control of the Kenyan Premier League Limited (KPL) , much to the relief of the Kenyan populace. This was exemplified by the traditional season-opener DSTV SuperSport Cup that was played on Wednesday night at the Nyayo national stadium.
Before this match, clubs that form the league had unanimously endorsed their total support and full backing of the KPL Ltd, who have successfully managed the top flight for the past six years. Meanwhile their bitter rivals Football Kenya Federation (FKF), amid threats, sabotage and disgraceful grandstanding, must eat humble pie and live to fight another day.
In hindsight, if what transpired at Nyayo is anything to go by, the 2015 season shall be one grand fiesta. League champions Gor Mahia beat GOtv winners Sofapaka in the season opener. It is interesting to note that of all the players fielded by both sides, almost half were foreigners. Keen observers opine that this is double-edged for the game here.
While the imports add spice to the league and push it to a higher level, the situation puts more positive pressure on the local lads to up their ante. Quality is the yardstick.This healthy competition raises the standard of the game by making the home boys glance repeatedly over their shoulder.
Of the foreign legion, Gor paraded Burundians Abdoul Nizigiyimana and Abouba Sibomana, Ugandans Godfrey Walusimbi and Khalid Aucho and Liberian Dirkir Glay. Sofapaka had Burundi pair Abdoulrazak Fiston and Abdoul Yorou, Ugandan Shafik Batambuze and veteran Congolese captain Felly Mulumba. Several other clubs have their imports, itching for action, and attracted by a stable, growing league, television exposure and better perks.
Admittedly, the match could not have come at a better time. Both teams are barely 72 hours away from continental assignments.Gor Mahia play CNaps from Madagascar
while Sofapaka host Zimbabwe side Platinum
over the weekend.
The league kicks off in eight days’ time. Lovers of the game have been starved of action, but reminiscent of rain after a long, dry spell, the uncertainty is over. The wait was well worth it.
Going forward, busy bodies hellbent on throwing spanners into the works should firmly be kept under lock and key. Apparently they will be regrouping, and will probably be scheming and plotting their next move.
They must not be allowed an inch to execute their treachery. Vigilance is key in ensuring football is played on the pitch, and run by people who have the game’s development and interests at heart.
The well known ‘general’ has fallen on his sword. Season 2015 is here.